Blue Square Bet North
AFC Telford Utd 2
Alfreton Town 1
ALFRETON Town’s unbeaten away record finally came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at AFC Telford United on Tuesday night.
As far as League matches go this was the Reds’ first away defeat since losing 2-3 at Gainsborough Trinity on March 13 last year, but the New Buck’s Head has always been a difficult place for Alfreton to perform and in five previous visits they had failed to register a solitary goal there.
There were promising signs in the opening five minutes when Laurie Wilson’s turn on the edge of the area led to him hooking just past the back post, then Nathan Arnold’s header was held by debutant home keeper Aaron McCarey.
Arnold sliced wide from 22 yards in the eighth minute, then a low drive from Wilson was held by the keeper under pressure from Arnold.
A decent Telford move ended with Will Salmon’s 15th minute cross being diverted behind for a corner by Theo Streete, with the same defender soon having to clear from Carl Rodgers.
Alfreton’s clearest opportunity of the first half fell to Anthony Howell, whose low drive was well held by McCarey from Liam Hearn’s astute 24th minute cross.
Moments later Connor Frankln sent Hearn scampering clear down the left only to be thwarted by the keeper racing well out of his area to hack into touch.
The hosts began to exert some pressure themselves and Franklin had to head behind a dangerous Salmon cross on 39 minutes, and from the corner Scott Garner managed to scramble a shot from Shane Killock off the line in a congested goalmouth.
But the Reds found themselves a goal down in the 41st minute from a similar move
This time Greg Mills floated in a left-wing corner and Killock was allowed a free header from 12 yards to give Chris MacKenzie no chance.
Any doubts about Mackenzie in the early stages of the second half were quickly evaporated as he pulled off a trio of top-drawer saves as the home side turned the screw.
First of all a snap shot from Alex Meechan was held in the 54th minute, and a rising drive two minutes later from Andy Brown would have beaten most keepers but Mackenzie turned it behind.
Then a further two minutes on a sharp header by Killock from another lethal corner was held with aplomb.
At last Alfreton managed to push forward again and on the hour Arnold’s penetrative run ended with him firing just wide from 15 yards after neatly side-stepping two defenders, then Salmon had to intercept Franklin’s by-line cross at the expense of a corner.
Brown missed a gilt-edged chance for United on 72 minutes after being set up by Meechan, then five minutes later another well-delivered corner lured Garner into handling the ball but Meechan’s penalty was saved low to his left by MacKenzie, who instantly made a reaction save from the follow-up by Jon Adams.
Meechan wasted another chance after racing clear in the 78th minute only to fire tamely wide, then at the other end Phil Trainer’s foul on Howell gave sub Ian Ross an opportunity from a central free-kick just outside the area and he only just missed the target.
The killer blow came two minutes into added time with Brown taking the ball around MacKenzie after being fed by far the best pass of the night by Adam Proudlock, and sliding the ball home.
But Alfreton still found time to score their first goal at the Shropshire venue after 540 minutes of trying when Garner followed-up after McCarey had parried Hearn’s strike.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Paul Lister, Connor Franklin, Theo Streete (c), Scott Garner, Jordan Hall (Ian Ross 66), Laurie Wilson (Dan Dillon 75), Jake Moult (Paul Clayton 52), Anthony Howell, Liam Hearn, Nathan Arnold.
Subs not used: Ross Turner, Josh Law.